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Warning Signs

Heart Attack

1. Chest discomfort.  It commonly occurs in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes and may be constant or come and go.  It may feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
2. Discomfort in other areas of the upper body.  Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the neck, jaw or stomach.
3. Shortness of breath.  It either happens along with chest pain or prior to it.
4. Other signs.  These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

If you or someone you are with experience one or more of these signs, do not wait more than 5 minutes to call 9-1-1.  If you can’t access the emergency medical services (EMS), have someone drive you to the hospital right away.  If you’re the one having symptoms, don’t drive yourself to the hospital unless you don’t have another option.

Source:  American Heart Association


1. Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
2. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
3. Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.
4. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
5. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.

If you or someone with you has one or more of the warning signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.  Do not wait, even if the symptoms only last a few minutes because this could be a stroke warning sign called a TIA (transient ischemic attack).  Also, make a point to remember the time when you noticed the first symptoms appearing.  If given within three hours of the start of symptoms, a clot-busting drug can reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke.

Source:  American Stroke Association


Last Updated 10/21/2009